Machtivists on trial

IssueFebruary - March 2016
News by Lotte Reimer

Not surprisingly for many of us in Wales, two ‘Machtivists’ are among the ‘Heathrow 13’ climate activists who are on trial as we go to press.

The Machynlleth area in mid-Wales has a proud environmental and climate activist record. Machtivists organised the first Camp against Climate Change in Merthyr in 2009, in support of the residents struggling against Ffos-y-Fran opencast coalmine, and they are involved in the ongoing battle against further mining described elsewhere on this page.

In 2007, Machtivists were among the climate campers on the proposed site for the third Heathrow runway and last year they took action with Plane Stupid in blocking the northern runway at Heathrow, preventing CO2 emissions while highlighting the hypocrisy of excluding aviation from the CO2 emissions targets.

Charged with aggravated trespass and entering a restricted area of an aerodrome, the Heathrow 13 are conducting their defence at Willesden magistrates court with courage and integrity, armed with climate science and a clear moral understanding of the responsibility of individuals to act to save lives.

One defendant noted that ‘one day of discomfort was if anything a privilege in comparison’ with the imminent danger faced by people in the Global South due to climate change.

Encouragingly, judge Wright acknowledged ‘that CO2 emissions cause climate change, with potentially catastrophic effects, and that aviation contributes to this’. She also noted that she was ‘prepared to believe that all the defendants feel passionately about the issues and feel they’ve been banging their heads against a brick wall’.

STOP PRESS The 13 were found guilty on all charges on 25 January, and warned that they should all expect prison sentences. Judge Deborah Wright described the costs of the disruption as ‘absolutely astronomical’.

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